Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Holmes Family of Winterport Maine



My Holmes family originates from the town of Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, England, as far back as the 16th Century.  It is believed that prior to that the name was found in Lancashire prior to the Norman Conquest in the 11th Century.

The immigrant Holmes ancestor from my family was my 10th great grandfather John Holmes (1612-1667), who arrived with his wife Sarah on the ship Paul in April of 1635.   He and his successive four generations settled in Plymouth and Cambridge Massachusetts.  My 7th great grandfather, Ebenezer Holmes (1696-1761) married Patience Phinney, who is accepted by the Mayflower Society to have been a Mayflower descendant of Thomas Rogers

Ebenezer & Patience had 13 children in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Their second oldest son, Jeremiah Holmes the First, married Phebe Crymble, his first cousin.  (Phebe's mother was Elizabeth Holmes, sister to Ebenezer).

Jeremiah & Phebe had Jeremiah, Jr. (1752-1799), who was my 5th great grandfather.  Jeremiah was the first to leave Massachusetts for Maine.  Around 1791, he and his wife Nancy Robinson (1760-1797), migrated north to Orrington Maine, in Hancock County, where they both died a few years later.  Their five children, Nancy, Thomas, Jeremiah III, William and Lander (the latter two having been born in Orrington), were left orphans at a young age.  Guardianship of the children was given to John Bishop, Gentleman and Rofrater Cotton, Esq., both of Plymouth.  The children stayed in Maine, however, and eventually migrated across the Penobscot River to Winterport (which until 1860 was part of Frankfort), in Waldo County. 

While the youngest child Lander died by the age of 4, the remaining four children (Nancy, Thomas, Jeremiah & William) each started their own large families in Winterport.  They lived off of the southern end of Main Street, down near the waterfront, and they ultimately had their road named after themselves.  "Holmes Street" is still the name for this small road, which contains ten old houses.  Across the entrance to Holmes Street, on a hill on Main Street, is the main homestead, ultimately owned by Thomas & Jeremiah, and where they raised their families, including my 3rd great grandmother, Harriet Holmes-Morgan (1816-1856), whose son, William Sanford Morgan, was a Civil War hero.

HOLMES HOMESTEAD
CORNER OF MAIN AND HOLMES STREET
WINTERPORT, MAINE
(2011)
The Holmes family was very wealthy (I believe they were involved in shipping), and they maintained a large presence in the harbor town of Winterport throughout the entire 19th Century.  While many parts of this family appear to have vanished just after the turn of the century, and some others moved to Portland and Presque Isle Maine, only a few specific Holmes families remained into the 20th Century (some of which I'm unsure of the exact connection to my Holmes families):

1.  Jeremiah Holmes (Harriet's brother, Thomas Jr's - son) (1844-1931) married Helen Staples and raised a family in Winterport.  His daughter, Buford, married Charles Curtis and had a large family in Winterport.  Jeremiah was drafted into the Civil War at age 18. 

2.  Hiram Holmes (1809-1884) and his wife, Mary Avery, had at least seven children in Winterport.  Hiram would be old enough to be the sibling of Thomas Sr., but I see no record that he is.  Ancestry family trees appear to state that his father was Ephraim Holmes of Machias, so it's rather unlikely.

3.  Cecil Holmes (1896-1955) and his wife Elizabeth lived in Winterport as well.  No clue what their relation was, if any, to my Holmes ancestors.  Cecil's WWI service records state his sister was Annie E. Holmes-Ryder

4.  Clyde Holmes (born around 1915) who married Maxine Edmonds.

5.  Herbert Holmes (1908-1965) and his wife Helen.

Gravesites for the Holmes family, in Oak Hill Cemetery, Winterport Maine.




Pedigree chart for Harriet Holmes-Morgan, who appears to be of entirely English descent:

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Elliots of Sandwich New Hampshire

I paid a visit to Sandwich New Hampshire this fall 2011 to see if I could learn anything more about my 3rd great grandmother, the mysterious Sally D. Elliot, born June 1805 in Sandwich, who quite possibly was daughter to Benjamin Elliot & Susannah Drew of Sandwich (the only married couple I could find in Sandwich at that time who were of child-rearing age).  Benjamin & Susannah were married in nearby Madbury.  On Benjamin & Susannah's daughter Susan's death record, it states that Susannah was from Dover.  The 1800 Census for Dover has four Drew-named heads of households, one of whom Susannah may have recently resided with:  Caleb, Francis, Joseph Sr., and Joseph Sr.

As for Benjamin's roots, if we're to assume he also came from Strafford County, then there were only three Elliot heads of household in Strafford for the 1790 Census (William of Barrington, Richard of Lee, and John of Barnstead).  Each of these families had a boy in the house Benjamin's approximate age.

I discovered an Albert Elliott (1821-1881) born in Sandwich (and died in Tuftonboro) to John Elliott and Rebecca Bean of Sandwich (who had moved to Meredith by 1844).  This John was definitely a child of Benjamin, but was Sally?

Sally D. Elliot was my 3rd great grandmother, and married Jonathan Smythe Morrill of Tuftonboro New Hampshire in 1826, and immediately moved to Maine, where they started the very large Morrill family, of which several hundred people can claim ancestry to in southern Maine.

If we are to assume that Benjamin Elliot is Sally's father, it is difficult to pinpoint Benjamin having lived in the Sandwich area after his 1792 marriage.  I looked in the Census for 1800 and 1810 in Dover, Sandwich, and Madbury, and came up with no Benjamins.  The 1820 Census of that County, for some reason, is absent many towns, including these.

There are appropriately aged census records showing a Benjamin Elliot in Rumford Maine and later Oxford Maine, not too far from Sandwich, for the 1800 and 1820 censuses, respectively.  Not sure if that would be him, especially records show that Sally was born in Sandwich (1805), and was 'of Sandwich' when she married Jonathan Morrill (1826).

For the 1830 Census, Jonathan S. Morrill appears first in Westbrook (a portion of Westbrook later part of Deering, later annexed into Portland), living next household over to a Benjamin Elliot, who is of the right age indicated on this census (although he is now without wife).  See yellow highlighted names below:


Now, for the 1840 Census, Jonathan moved to Washington Avenue in the East End of Portland, and was one of the very first Morrills to arrive in Portland.  Benjamin, however, appears to have left Westbrook, and didn't move to East End Portland with Jonathan.  I did find a Benjamin Elliot having moved north to Windham for the 1840 Census, and it appears that the ages match the ten year advance in age of the previous census.  See below:


In this 1840 Census, Benjamin would be the one person in the "Males 70-79" column.  There is one male in their 20's and one in their 30's living with him, and one female 60-69 (the wife came back?).  Now, one person is listed here as "Insane and Idiots at Private Charge" as well.  I wonder if Susannah was mentally ill, and if she may have been living in some facility during the 1830 census?

As one would expect, Benjamin doesn't appear in the 1850 Census, as he likely had died of old age.


The kind folks at Sandwich Historical Society let me have a look at their library.  After a day of research, I found nothing that made me scream "Eureka!", but I did learn the following:

-There is a large presence of Elliots in Sandwich, most of whom descend from John Elliot (born about 1796 in Sandwich, as mentioned above), and his only son Albert.  However, many subsequent generations moved to nearby Tuftonboro and Moultonboro.

-Benjamin & Susan (John's parents) definitely had two other sons, Jedediah (12 Feb 1793) and Francis (18 Jun 1794).

-According to a NH surname publication, the surname Eliot and all its permutations originates from only FOUR different ancestors:  (1) Reverend John Eliot from Roxbury Mass, apostle to the Indians; (2) Ebenezer Eliot of Newton, Mass; (3) Edmund Eliot of Amesbury Mass; and (4) Andrew Eliot of Beverly Mass.  It appears from this publication that Edmund had several descendants who were pioneers of various New Hampshire towns, but the other folks don't appear to have any NH descendants (from available documentation).  Perhaps I'll one day establish a link between Edmund (and Benjamin) to my Sally...

BEAUTIFUL VIEW FROM SANDWICH INTO WONALANCET
CARROLL COUNTY NEW HAMPSHIRE

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Isaac Osborn & The Fairfield Homestead

Isaac Osborn (1755-1845) was a sea captain (just like his uncle Jonathan Osborn) and Revolutionary War veteran who lived in East Hampton, Long Island, New York, with his older brother Ephraim, and their father, Jedediah Osborn.  Isaac & Ephraim left Long Island in the 1770s, and moved to Winslow Maine and each married the Wyman sisters (Sarah and Lydia, respectively), and eventually settled in Fairfield, Maine (which was then deemed 'wilderness'), and lived farmers' lives.  Isaac's wife Sarah was "crazy," according to their granddaughter Clara.

On 10 November 1810, Isaac purchased, for $800, the land he had been living on for less than two years - a large farm lot on Skowhegan Road (now Route 201), in Fairfield (formerly known as Kendall's Mills), Somerset County, Maine (then still part of Massachusetts) 5 miles north, and across the Kennebec River, where many families were setting up large scale farmland.  Farming was a desirable new career at the turn of the 19th century for retirees such as Isaac.  This land had been worked on by Isaac's son, Jedediah, and an in-law of Jedediah's, Barnabas Jackson.

Below is the text of Isaac's deed for the initial 1810 purchase of Homestead land (later expanded):
Know all men by these Presents, that I John Getchell Jr. of Vassalborough in the County of Kennebec and Commonwealth of Massachusetts gentleman In consideration of Eight hundred Dollars paid by Isaac Osborn of Fairfield in the County of Somerset and Commonwealth aforesaid yeoman. (the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge) do hereby give, grant, sell and convey until the said Isaac Osborn and his Heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract or Parcel of land situate in Fairfield aforesaid & bounded & described as follows, viz: East by Kennebec River, South by land occupied by William Jewitt, West by the Second tier of lots from said River, & North by land improved by Barnabas Jackson and Jedediah Osborn, being lot No. 2 in fifteen mile lot D. one, & the same lot of land on which the said Isaac Osborn now lives TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the same to the said I. Osborn and to his heirs and assigns to his and their use and benefit forever. And I do covenant with the said Isaac Osborn and with his heirs and assigns, That I am lawfully seized in fee of the premises - That they are free of all incumbrances - That I will warrant and defend the same to the said Isaac Osborn and to his heirs and assigns forever, against the lawful claims and demands of any persons.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I the said John Getchell, Jr. have hereunto set my hand and seal this tenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten.

Signed, sealed and delivered John Getchel, Junr. (his signature) in presence of Thos A. Hill

Wilson Colcord Kennebec ss. November 10, 1810.

Timothy and his five elder brothers expanded and developed the farm their father left him, and became quite successful and somewhat wealthy for it.  Timothy received the property from his father upon Isaac's death in 1845.  Timothy transferred the Homestead to his son William in 1882.  William transferred it to his son Elwood in 1949.  Elwood's grandson owned it until 2013, when he sold the property in pieces to non-family members, but this house was a staple of the Osborn family for over 200 years!

History of Isaac's TEN children:

-Jedediah (1788-1877), the eldest, set up a large family farm in 1822 in nearby St. Albans, and brought his father Isaac to live with him until Isaac died in 1845.  He married Sarah Jackson (who was raised by Quakers after running away from home).  They had seven children together, including their son, Sullivan Holloway Osborn, who left Maine in 1851 to join the California Gold Rush, and started his family there.

-Deborah (1790-1873) was named after Isaac's mother.  She married Zebediah Littlefield, and moved to Wisconsin.

-Isaac Jr. (1792-1874), soon moved to Saratoga, in NY State and started his family and farm there.  He and his wife Millie Morse had six children.  By 1870, they were all living in Grass Lake, Michigan.  Judging from the letter he wrote below in 1815 to his brother William at the Homestead, he was a poor speller, and wished to come home since apparently he left Fairfield due to his many fights with William:


"Letter addressed to William Osborn, State of Massachusetts, County of Summerset, Town of Fairfield - December the 10th 1815

Dear Brother

I must inform you that I am well at present and I hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same. I received one letter sense I left home from you whitch pleased me mutch, you informed me that you hadant sold my property, which I wish you would sell them as quick as you can conveninenly and write to me and let me know ho you have sole them and I will come home. I have purchase me a plan in Middle Town in the Town of Half Moon in the County of Saratoga in the State of New York, and I follow my trad and it is as good a stand as in the State, and I must inform you further that I am Married and am a doing well, I was married to Mrs. Mille Moyes on 23rd of November in the year 1815. I mus inform that I am contented with the marriage state, you remember that you and I had a good many scrapes together when I lived to home. I am a fraid we shant have as many more, I wish you would remember me to Father an Mother and all enquiring friends.  You must inform the girls that I am sorry to leave them, but tis the case and they musant morn to much for me for it is all in vane, and you must in my part and yours in two sense it is so. I have no more in particular bu thare is some thing yet I will tell you now what it is it is some thing you may depend now you shal here it in a minit now it comes like something else here it is, I am tired of writing ad I must quit. My pen is poor my ink is pale my love to you shall never fail.   Isaac Osborn (Jr.)


-William (1794-1880) never married but lived in a house he built adjacent to his brother Timothy, and worked the farm with him.  William fought in the War of 1812, and received a pension the last two years of his life.  He also became a doctor.

-Jacob (1798-1830) married Lydia Burrill, and had one child, Milton.  They lived on the family farm, but when Jacob died young, Jacob's brother Timothy married Lydia.

-John W. (1800-1893) initially took a different path, and became a shoemaker, but eventually started a small farm in nearby Pittsfield and later Canaan (until his death there in 1893).  He lived for a time in New Brunswick (possibly to live with cousin Josiah from Winslow - son to Ephraim) and he married a Sarah B. from there.  They had their two sons, George and William there, but moved back to Fairfield by 1850.  Genealogists often confuse him with a John W. Osborn, son to Ephraim.  My theory is that the latter John doesn't exist at all.

-Sarah (Sallie) (1802-1897) briefly married a Humphrey Burgess, had a son Orlando, and ended up living by herself on the poor farm in Fairfield (odd considering that her siblings were successful farmers). Orlando moved to Nebraska.

-Timothy (1805-1898) (my 3rd great grandfather) married his widowed sister-in-law, Lydia Burrill, with whom he had three daughters, and stayed his whole life on the Homestead left to him and farmed and sold hay.  In 1882, he left the farm and house to his 21 year old son, William Noyes Osborne, who continued the hay business as well as starting up the Rocky Hill Spring Water company.  William left the property, and the family businesses, to his son Elwood (nicknamed "Eno"), who left it to his grandson Eric, who currently owns it in 2011.

-Annie (1807-1849) married Joshua Wing, who started his own farm in St. Albans, not far from her brother Jedediah.

-Mary (1811-1831), the youngest, died unmarried at age 19.

Below are a series of maps from the mid 19th century, whereupon we see the labeled house lots of many Osborns, Wymans, Burrills, Fullers, and other families which figure prominently into multiple family lines.  The dates may be off by a few years, and I'd welcome anyone in the know to correct them.

ca. 1850


ca. 1865

1875

1875

Letter from Ruth Osborn-Munnoch, great granddaughter to Isaac, writes the following about old Isaac, who had died 50 years before she was born:

"Isaac Sr. (I heard) once a year went to Bangor with a yoke of oxen, with a loaded hay rack of dried apples, cheese, butter, eggs or anything saleable, the trip (one way I suppose) took 3 days going and 3 days back as the driver used to walk beside the oxen.  Now how would anybody put away any savings selling dried apples, etc.  He would bring back flour, sugar and supplies for the winter."

Ruth had a very colorful writing style, and was very free with the family information, more of her letters can be found here.

CURRENT (2011) PICTURES OF THE OSBORN HOMESTEAD:








William Noyes Osborne of Fairfield Maine

WILLIAM NOYES OSBORNE
FOUNDER OF ROCKY HILL SPRING
FAIRFIELD, MAINE
STARTING OUT FOR A DELIVERY ABOUT 1903

Timothy Osborn & Olivia Noyes had only son together.  He was named William Noyes Osborn (after Timothy's closest brother), and he received the Osborn Homestead from his father in May of 1882, when he turned 21.

He received additional 45 acre Fairfield property from his father in 1885 (for which he paid his father $1600), which he did a successful six month mortgage on in 1895 to Henry Kelley for $960 at 6% interest.  This was an interesting and dramatic dip in property value.  In 1904, he mortgaged the same property for $700 to Fairfield Savings Bank, again for six months at 6% interest.  In 1913, he sold the property to Hume & Newhall Company, an Augusta based lumber company for an undisclosed sum.

In 1923, William purchased a mortgage on a Shawmut Village property, which was successfully reconveyed back to its owner, George Dickey.




He was elected Fairfield Town Selectman and served one term as a Somerset County Commissioner. William started up a new family business, Rocky Hill Spring Water, to supplement the farming income.



One story goes that when William got into politics, and added an "e" to the name to distinguish himself from a local cousin also named William.  Another story was told that William added the "e" to differentiate himself from a horse thief by the same name.

In the winter of 1886, William married Sylvia Piper from Benton (just across the Kennebec River).  She died in November 1887 giving birth to their one and only child, Milton Osborn.

In 1894, he married Bertha Helen Hodges from Winslow.  They had two children.  They first had a daughter named Ruth Irene (1896-1980) who married a Henry Munnoch, and moved to Niagara Falls.  They had two daughters, Elva and Sara. 


In the 1940 census, they appeared to have a 22 year old hired man named Hugh Bickford from Piscataquis.

William's son was Elwood Noyes Osborne (1903-2002) was an accomplished genealogist, and the source for many of my blog posts.   He is well remembered at the Fairfield Historical Society, where he brokered the deal for getting the Cotton-Smith House on High Street to be reused as a museum.  It's filled with antiques from the past, including the items shown above.

OBITUARY OF WILLIAM NOYES OSBORNE

Waterville Morning Sentinel, Monday 30 Jan 1950 WILLIAM N. OSBORNE - Fairfield

William N. Osborne, a life long resident of Fairfield, died Sunday morning at the family homestead on the Shawmut road. He was one of the oldest residents here having been born 13 Sep 1860, the son of Timothy and Olvia Osborne.

Mr. Osborne has been engaged for many years in the spring water business it being known as the Rocky Hill Spring. He has also engaged in truck gardening and general farming.

He served for some years as selectman of the town of Fairfield and one term as a Somerset county commissioner. He was a member of Siloam Lodge, F. and A. M. and Victor Grange.

His wife Bertha Osborne died three months ago.

He is survived by a daughter Mrs. Henry Munnoch of Miami, FL, and a son Elwood Osborne of Pittsburg, PA, a sister Miss Clara Osborne of this town, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the family home, the time to be announced.

Funeral of William N. Osborne - Fairfield

Funeral services for William N. Osborne were held Wednesday afternoon at the home on Shawmut Road with Rev. David B. Howe officiating. The bearers were Leslie Ames, Isaac Works, Colby Lawrence, Harold Teague, George Webber, and George Dickey. Burial was in the family lot at Maplewood Cemetery.

Those from out of town attending the service were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Munnoch, Miami, FL, Elwood Osborne, Pittsburgh, PA and Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Basford of Northport.

WILL

William's will simply gives the real property to his son Eno, and let's the equal value of the remainder go to his daughter, Ruth Munnoch:




Gravesite of William Noyes Osborne and his two wives:



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Alfred "Rasmus" Mortensen

ALFRED MORTENSEN
(1870-1948)

Alfred Mortensen was born Rasmus Nielsen Mortensen, in Skrøbelev, Svendborg, Denmark on 10 Aug 1870, according to Danish records.  He, his parents, and his siblings traveled together on the ship Hibernian from Liverpool to Halifax in 1881.  Alfred was only 10 years old when he left Denmark, and had only completed fifth grade in school (he never furthered his education beyond that while in North America).  After living briefly in Sherbrooke, Quebec for a couple years, the entire family migrated south to Berlin, New Hampshire, to get work in the prospering Brown Company sawmill.

Alfred married Oslo Norway immigrant Annie Oleson in Berlin, New Hampshire on 21 January 1895.  Annie's cousin, Minnie Oleson, married Miaus Mortensen, Alfred's youngest brother.  Annie's brother, Olaf Oleson, was a ski manufacturer, and according to family legend he was the first to manufacture skis in the United States.

In 1917, Alfred & Annie purchased 1716 Hutchins Street in Berlin, just down the street from the rest of the Mortensen houses.  Annie was well known throughout Berlin for her dahlia garden.  In 1926 she was recognized in the Brown Bulletin for having 297 blossoms from 87 bulbs.



Alfred & Annie had ten children.  Five of them died as children (Mildred, Thelma, Walter, Annie & Julia).  The five, all boys, who survived to adulthood have many descendants among them:


CARL ANTON MORTENSEN
(1897-1986)
Carl and his wife Edla took over 1803 Hutchins Street from their grandparents, Marius and Stina, when they passed in the mid 1930s.  They had only one child, Howard.  Carl worked at the mill as an assistant chemist, and was an avid bowler.  His Aunt Lena's son, Charlie Peterson, was rooming there with his cousin Carl when drafted into WWII in 1942.  Carl worked in the Research Dept. of Brown Co. 


VICTOR "SMOKEY" MORTENSEN
(1901-1971)
Victor was known for his pipe smoking ways, and was nicknamed "Smokey" all his life.  He was a baseball aficionado, and played on several teams in Berlin as pitcher.  He married Agnes Goyette in 1924 and lived at 1023 Main Street.  He and Agnes had seven children, 30 grandchildren, and at least 40 great grandchildren, most of whom left Berlin to live in other parts of New England and the South.  In November 1923, he worked as a janitor at the Research Dept.  He began work in earnest at Brown Co Chemical Mill in January of 1924, and was promoted from repair man to level man in May of that year.  In July of that year, he broke his leg (ski accident?), and was out of work until March of 1925.  During his recovery, he received monthly moneys from the Burgess Relief Association.  In November 1929, he was promoted from gas hound to machinist.  He later worked as a paper tester.


LOUIS ALFRED MORTENSEN
"Chippy"
(1908-1968)

Louis married Isabel Murdock in 1930 and had two children, ten grandchildren, and at least 20 great grandchildren.  They lived on 123 Park Street.  According to the July 1930 Brown Bulletin, he kept his wedding a secret from his fellow co-workers for three months.


THEODORE EDWARD MORTENSEN
(1912-1979)

Theodore was nicknamed "Red" and he married Avis Bissett in 1934.  They had six children, and at least six grandchildren.

ROBERT EARL MORTENSEN
(1918-2004)

Robert was Alfred's youngest child.  He was a skilled skiier like his brother Red.  He married Barbara Martina McLusky in 1940, and was soon drafted into WWII.  Upon his return, he settled in Laconia, and had one child.  According to Robert's son, Robert "tired of shoveling sulfur out of boxcars once too often, and taught himself the trade of mechanics, later enlisting in the Navy, and returning from WWII to resume mechanic work, until the PSCo of NH gave him a job in 1948, where he spent the next 36 years working there overseeing small power stations and substations".

Robert was ALSO nicknamed "Red", and was a champion skiier with the Nansen Ski Club.   Here's a cartoon tribute drawn for the Boston Post when Red was 22, referencing a famous jump he had made at age 17, when he sailed a record 262 feet off the Nansen Ski Jump.





ABANDONED NANSEN SKI JUMP (OCT 2011)
ROUTE 16, MILAN, NEW HAMPSHIRE

All of Alfred's children worked at Brown Co. Mill for their entire lives (the one exception being youngest son Robert, who worked only briefly there, as stated above).   Alfred was a valued employee at the mill (see article below).  He died on Christmas Day, 1948.

Of Marius' children, Alfred had the most descendants. As of October 2011, well over 100 people can claim descent from old Rasmus, many of them living in Berlin today!

MORTENSEN FAMILY
BERLIN, NEW HAMPSHIRE
(1925)
(Front Row: Charles Smith, Jr., Tom Nadeau)
(Back Row: Alfred "Rasmus" Mortensen, Louis Mortensen, Annie Olesen-Mortensen, Charles Smith, Emma Petersen-Smith (with baby Helen Smith), Lillian Petersen-Nadeau and Emile Joseph Nadeau)



ALFRED & ANNIE MORTENSEN
ABT 1930
ALFRED & ANNIE MORTENSEN
IN FRONT OF HOUSE ON HUTCHINS STREET